You’re right; it’s very tough but also the only thing worth trying. Dogs understand many commands: they can sit down, run, take something, bring it to you, etc.
Material actions are easy. Maybe you try teaching your pet how to push a button daily, and you keep failing. It’s frustrating, but in the end, you think it’s just an animal, and this effort is useless.
That’s why I would like to see if my imaginary pet (I don’t have one) can do something based on an abstract mental process.
Wait a moment! Am I talking about mind? Hence, I’m assuming my dog has a mind just like me. Is this absurd? Perhaps it’s complete nonsense.
But reductionists think the mind is just the “manifestation” of our brains’ activities. Therefore, if my beloved pet understands a few commands, perceives my emotions, and shows genuine empathy, it may have a very embryonic mind.
Ok, this seems like a drunk’s claptrap, but I don’t believe I’m to blame. Ultimately, I found this question and am free to speak my mind!
So, if a fluffy dog can think with some fundamental abstractions (it should have a minimal model of the world), it can also imagine non-existent things.
In the worst case, its “mental” object might be a bone or an entire turkey to eat. If it’s satiated, it can be driven by its sexual instinct and imagine a partner.
There are many options. But they are damn usual. What about a blue turkey because its favorite toy is indeed blue? Isn’t this a straightforward artistic expression?
At the end of the day, he’s trying to satisfy its hunger together with some pleasure that doesn’t belong to the intrinsic object itself. It’s hard to state, but the dog uses its brain to “create” something to evoke an emotion.
I do not know if this is reasonable, but obtaining some evidence is the most challenging problem. Monkeys have often shown this ability, and in some tasks, they proved far superior to human beings.
But again, I don’t want my pet to solve puzzles. It’s too dull. I want to observe it by arranging the pieces in a particular way and then looking at the composition in an ecstatic stasis.
In logic, a Latin expression says: “Ex falso sequitur quodlibet,” which means that if you start from a false statement, you can say whatever you want. So, please be kind and allow me to bluff. I don’t have any pets, so my fantastic lucubration can fearlessly unravel itself!